Sunday, April 03, 2011
This post also published at http://lataan.wordpress.com/ David Rieff, writing in neocon online mag The New Republic about liberal interventionists and neoconservative interventionists, says: Both sides think it is America’s duty to reshape the world into a more democratic place. Well, we all know that neoconservatives think America should be ‘intervening’ anywhere that it feels like if it serves America’s or Israel’s interests. And American liberal interventionists may, indeed, well believe that it is America’s duty to reshape the world into a more ‘democratic’ place, but it certainly is not the case at all for international Leftists, many of who have supported the intervention in Libya but for very different reasons. However, the big difference between the so-called ‘liberal interventionists’ and the neoconservatives compared to the international Left is the fact that the international Left would prefer to see America have nothing at all to do with any ‘intervention’ anywhere. In cases like Libya, America should leave the ‘intervening’ to the international community. Better still, as far as Libya is concerned, it would have been far better if it had been the Arab community itself that had ‘intervened’. Libya has two immediate neighbours, Tunisia and Egypt, which have both recently gone down the same path as the Libyan rebels. It’s a pity that the new Egyptian and Tunisian governments didn’t see fit to support the Libyan rebels. Both have the appropriate wherewithal to at least level the playing field in the fight to rid Libya of its fascist dictator and an alliance of Arab nations in this way would also demonstrate to other Arab fascist-led states that such totalitarian behaviour will not be supported by those states that now have power in the hands of their own people. For the neoconservatives the revolutions in the Arab nations have become a conundrum. Their propaganda in the lead up to the Iraq war was full of jingoistic rhetoric about bringing ‘democracy’ to Iraq so that the rest of the Arab world would be inspired by Iraq’s new-found freedoms. The pursuit of ‘democracy’ became the cornerstone of their rhetoric – and it also became a millstone around their necks as Arabs nations began to move toward their own style of revolution and democracy. As the January 2006 Palestinian National Authority elections demonstrated, the wrong people, at least as far as the neocons were concerned, were being elected into power. But, too late; the neoconservatives had committed themselves to the rhetoric of ‘democracy’ so when the Egyptian rebellion began the neocons had no alternative but to actually support it despite Israel preferring to have seen Hosni Mubarak continue in power. Their only hope now is that the US is able to wield enough influence in Egyptian post-Mubarak political affairs to keep the Muslim Brotherhood from taking Egypt down the path of Islamic governance. Despite their ongoing rhetoric about wanting to see the downfall of Gaddafi and ‘democracy’ in Libya, the neocons are scared witless over the possibility that Islamic groups will gain political control there as it seems they will eventually in Egypt. Obama is no less concerned about the possibility of Islamic groups gaining political control in all of the counties that have fallen so far and may well fall in the future but Obama has adopted a ‘softly, softly’ approach to diplomacy with these states that have undergone and are undergoing radical change. The neocons on the other hand, would prefer a much more aggressive approach to the changeover of power in these states in order to ensure that Islamist groups do not gain power. What all the rebels are seeking, above anything else, is the right to their own self-determination – which may or may not include a secular democracy which the neocons would prefer, or, alternatively, may involve a theocratic Islamic form of government which would be the last things the neocons would want. Either ways, it’s ultimately up to the people of each of these states. It’s certainly not up to the US nor the neocons.